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Nonprofit news roundup for Feb. 21, 2008

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Salvation Army faces tough times

Experts blame the Salvation Army’s increasingly stagnant fundraising on a tough economy, U.S. presidential elections and the environment, Reuters reported Feb. 20. Salvation Army officials worry that, sufficient funds or not, the group still must respond to the greater need created by current economic woes.

Soros, Omidyar, Google fund Indian businesses

The Soros Economic Development Fund, the Omidyar Network, and Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, are teaming up to fund a $17 million company to invest in small- and medium-size Indian businesses, The Washington Post reported Feb. 20. The Small to Medium Enterprise Investment Co. aims to fill the funding gap between microfinance groups and large commercial banks.

Philadelphia Orchestra re-packages classical

The Philadelphia Orchestra is beating the dwindling funds and audiences that trouble classical music venues with customized packages of concerts for constituencies with distinct tastes and experience levels, music critic Peter Dobrin said in a Philadelphia Inquirer opinion column Feb. 20. Only half the orchestra’s coming season will feature traditional concert formats.

Union challenges hospital’s accounting

The 1.9 million-member Service Employees International union wants Boston hospital Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to revise recent financial reports that classify losses from bad-debt cases as charity care, The New York Times reported Feb. 20. The Internal Revenue Service made clear in December that this practice no longer will be acceptable, but these new reporting standards are not retroactive.

Donors, do your research

Donors may use personal networks to find local nonprofits to support, but a little research is necessary to closely match the mission of a national nonprofit to donor values, The Financial Times reported Feb. 2. A number of matchmaker websites have sprung up recently: Kiva.org, DonorsChoose.org, GlobalGiving.org.

Red campaign raises $22M

The Red campaign, founded by activist-rock star Bono in 2006, has raised more than $22 million to fight H.I.V. and AIDS in Rwanda simply by promoting iPods, watches, cologne and now laptops, The New York Times reported Feb. 6. Yet some are criticizing the consumer-driven campaign’s lack of transparency.

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